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Ministry Networking: 11 Keys to Building a Youth Leader Support System

ministry networking

Ministry networking is an often-overlooked but essential part of youth ministry. Learn 11 tips for building and growing a youth worker support system in your area.

“Build it, and they will come.” That may be a great movie tagline. But it doesn’t necessarily work for building a healthy youth ministry network in your community.

If we want our youth ministry networks to grow, it’s not enough to just open our doors once a month, invite a bunch of youth workers, set up chairs around a table, and expect more excellent ministry to youth. We must give youth workers a good reason to leave their offices, share their lives and ministries, and be part of a community-wide vision.

You need to plan ministry networking meetings built on prayer, relationships, creative resourcing, and strategic planning.

I’m confident we can strategically plan meetings that interest youth workers and have a greater impact on them and, ultimately, on students. These meetings must provide a safe place for youth workers to develop friendships built on trust.

Youth Ministry Networking: 11 Meeting Tips

Here’s how to start:

Ground Rules

  1. First, networking meetings must begin and end on time.

2. Location, location, location!

This is crucial. Meeting in restaurants is usually distracting, and moving from church to church also can be challenging. Finding one location and staying there for six months seems to work best.

3. Assess the atmosphere.

This is really important. Leaders must be ready when youth workers arrive! Greet them and make them feel welcomed. Do signs give direction to the location of the meeting?

4. Is the room arranged to optimize communication?

For example, round tables facilitate better discussion and prayer.

5. Is there a table to display and share resources that the coordinator or others bring?

6. It’s possible to provide a free meal for every meeting.

Ask someone to donate the meals, or have different churches provide funds for food. Then youth workers can go straight to the meeting, knowing that a meal will be available.

7. Remember name tags. (Permanent ones that you can distribute and later collect are best.)


  1. Allow minimal time for people to make announcements about events they’re sponsoring.

This has become the focus and sore spot for plenty of youth ministry networks. Provide a resource table, if possible.

2. Ask the group what topics they’ll find most helpful and who they suggest for speakers.

If you provide other creative program ideas, you’ll need only five to six speakers.

3. Creative ideas

These include a panel discussion with youth workers’ spouses, student panels, senior pastor panels, and times of prayer and sharing.

4. It’s time to have some fun!

Local amusement facilities love to host youth workers. They want to show off their facilities and frequently will provide a meal.